Trying out a new sound

If you have a brand new sound system set up, or maybe you just splurged on a very expensive set of headphones, I have a few words of advice to hand you. Having that new upgraded audio system is an exciting part of life, especially if you are as obsessed with music and other audible hardware as I am. There is just something about being able to hear something more crisply and in a deeper way, like you've never heard it before.

What are some of the things you should do with a completely different audio system? Well, the first thing I would suggest is to compare it to your old one. I remember the first time I switched to a new home theater audio set up. I had a pair of subwoofers hooked up to the main speakers, and the whole thing set up with my television to sync. It even had bluetooth capabilities, should I ever want to play music on my iPhone. Anyway, after a while it started to seem a little "normal", which is how most things will work. For instance, you get a new car, but after a few years it is going to start feeling the same to you, and lose a little bit of the same excitement you felt for it on the first day. That is normal. But one way I restored that excitement was remembering what set up I came from. In this case, before my home theater system, I had just had a computer that had a set of USB audio speakers plugged in. I didn't even have a television back then, which undoubtedly would have still improved my audio by far. Coming from a small USB speaker set to a dual-sub with speakers is a major upgrade, and when I went back to what I came from, it made me appreciate a lot more what I have today. So try that out if you have never done it and are wishing to appreciate your hardware more.

The next thing I'd suggest if you have a new system is to play specific tunes. I say specific tunes because everyone likes to play their favorite music on the new speakers, but it doesn't really do the system justice if you are familiar with the music already, at least in my opinion. Some music I would suggest are in the hip hop genre, electronic dance music, jazz, and drum instrumentals. These genres are perfect for showcasing a good audio setup because they utilize such a range of frequencies and it is very noticeable to recognize the quality of sound this way. I never recommend listening to pop or anything similar, at least if you are trying to gauge how well your new system plays music, because the frequencies are typically in the same range for the entire song: the higher level of the spectrum.

Some good examples:

  • Any music produced by Kanye West. I know he gets a lot of flak for his celebrity outbursts, but he is a very talented hip hop producer and his sound is always impressive when played on good subwoofers + speakers.
  • Try Yellow Claw if you are into electronic dance music. He always has thumping bass play on his songs and the electronic hooks of his songs always use varied frequencies, which help you gain more knowledge on how well your new system plays and transitions from different audio frequencies.
  • I don't have any recommendations that go for jazz or drum instrumentals. However, if you have a Spotify subscription, the "New Jazz" and "Drum beats" playlists always are high-quality. If you don't have Spotify, though, simply go on YouTube and do a quick search of something like "jazz trumpets" or "hip hop drum loops".

Once you have done some listening, then I'd suggest for you to go ahead and play your favorite music. This is because first you are able to get a wide range of frequencies to play on your new device, so at least it has touched on those and you were able to experience the transitioning and whatnot. Now, you can play music you are familiar with and can gauge how much of an upgrade the new sound is compared to the last time you heard that particular song. I love hip hop, so my favorites are always some of the bangers from Good Kid Mad City by Kendrick Lamar (m.A.A.D. City is my favorite), and some of the more instrumental-based songs from Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly. 

No matter your sound system, it is always a pleasure to upgrade it and give it a whirl. Let me know if you need any help at all optimizing it for different frequencies, and depending on which model of subwoofer/speaker/amplifier you have. For instance, I have a 1500 watt amp exactly like the one on that page that is fully capable of pumping out sound. But that sound quality would easily falter with a different amplifier. I love optimizing sound systems, so please let me know if you need that assistance.

Wilber Brown 2017